Truss urged to press ahead with trade deals

The UK's leading trade body for exporters has stressed the importance of “harnessing the opportunities provided through international trade” to new Prime Minister, Liz Truss.

xterior of UK government building office department for international trade
In a letter to Ms Truss, Marco Forgione, Director-General of the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), emphasised the importance of plans to improve the digitalisation of trade processes and documentation.
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Pressing ahead with plans

The letter said it was vital that the new Government implement the proposed new technology-based Target Operating Model and Ecosystem of Trust export strategies, which are due to come into force at the end of 2023 "to create the world’s best border" in the UK.Mr Forgione also stressed the importance of the Government pressing ahead with its plan to create freeports and called on the new administration to establish a taskforce for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) to provide businesses with “immediate help and support on issues such as the rising cost of fuel and energy crisis”.

UK a trading nation

In remarks published on the IOE&IT website, Mr Forgione said: “It is great to have an incoming Prime Minister with such a strong background in international trade. The progress made on free trade agreements (FTA) under her tenure as Secretary of State for International Trade was significant.“That trade was also integral to the development policy she pursued as Foreign Secretary sends a strong message to the world that the UK is first and foremost a trading nation, as well as a dedicated and committed ally."She takes over during what is a particularly challenging and turbulent economic period. We want to see an export-led recovery that ensures that UK businesses have the tools, the skills, the knowledge and the expertise to seize the opportunities that arise through international trade."

The Northern Ireland Protocol

The institute has previously expressed concerns over the previous Government's threat to abandon the Northern Ireland Protocol - which controls trade between Britain and Northern Ireland - with the possible consequence being a trade war with the EU, the UK's biggest trading partner.According to the Guardian newspaper, EU officials have low expectations of an improvement in relations with Ms Truss, who was the architect of the bill to override key aspects of the protocol.“The wish on this side is for things to improve, for there to be a more constructive relationship, but I don’t think anybody is holding their breath,” an EU diplomat told the Guardian.“Obviously the reservations that were there beforehand remain given that she was the Foreign Secretary that brought through the [Northern Ireland] bill before the summer.“From an EU perspective, there is always a window of opportunity with the new Prime Minister, because the EU will be open to talks and negotiations.”Meanwhile, the new administration is expected to press ahead with talks aimed at reaching an FTA with India, possibly by the end of next month, and to get Parliamentary approval of a trade deal already negotiated with Australia.

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